The Color Of Your Stool May Indicate That You Are Experiencing Some Health Issue – Useful Tips
If your gastrointestinal tract does not function properly it will present your stool color telling you if there exists some health issue. Through reading the colors of your stool you may avoid up-close and personal issues. This is your personal guide. Follow it to make sure you don’t experience some issues with your health.
Method 1 of 4 – probably normal
- Medium brown bowel movement – this is the healthy and reassuring color. All the brownish to medium shades of brown (the color is caused by bile during digestion) and even green (colored by green vegetables) are considered normal. If the stool has very dark brown color, it may indicate a potentially serious intestinal condition because of bleeding.
- Dull red or dull black – red shades may be a result from red food like tomato sauce/paste, beets, BBQ, lots of ketchup, cranberries, red gelatin or drink mixes, paprika, and red pimiento peppers in great amounts. While dulled blackish shades may appear after eating black jelly beans, black licorice, blueberries, iron pills, and some anti-diarrhea medications. This is not bad.
- Green shades – these are unusual but are considered normal. It happens when the food passes through the colon very quickly for final digestion. It may also happen due to green dyes in foods and drinks as well as by consuming green vegetables such as spinach, iron supplements, and some medications.
Method 2 of 4 – seek emergency care
- Tarry black (black as tar), URGENT – this is a sign of dangerous and deadly “bleeding” (a significant amount of digested food). You have to consult a doctor to check bleeding or hemorrhaging in the upper GI tract (intestines, the stomach or the esophagus. Very dark color of the stool may be harmless appearing due to intake of iron supplements, a pack of black licorice, or a bag of black jelly beans. If you have not consumed these foods, then you might be aware that something more serious is going on.
- Ashy and pale colors, URGENT – these shades may denote liver or pancreas issues, so if you see a gray stool which reminds of clay call a doctor. The bile which is made in the liver makes the stools turn brown, but if there is not enough of it, ashen shades may appear in your stool. This also includes: obstruction of bile creation or its ducts caused by infections, scarring, possibly tumor or cancer in the area of the liver, pancreas or gallbladder; pancreatitis; cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis.
While light-colored, white or clay colored may suggest lack of bile in the stool indicating a bile duct obstruction and certain side-effects of some medications like great doses of bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) and anti-diarrhea drugs.
- Bloody stool, CAUTION – blood streaking is often caused by bleeding of internal or external hemorrhoids. Maroon red stool may indicate undigested food including other internal bleeding in the lower intestine like the large intestine or the rectum, raptured intestinal walls or diverticulitis. If this happens, call your doctor or get an emergency care.
- Yellow shadow with greasy and foul smell – excess fat in the stool may appear because of a malabsorption disorder like celiac disease involving gluten as in cereals and bread. This is an unusual type of stool that is caused by conditions which reduce pancreatic lipase production. That blockage may be the transport to the intestines.
- Yellow diarrhea – the parasite named Giardia can be found in waste products and contaminated water which cause yellow diarrhea, fever and flu-like symptoms. If such yellow stool persists more than a day or two seek prompt medical care.
Method 3 of 4 – Worries
- Make record notes if you worry about the color of your stool – keep a record for 3-7 days and then share tor shades with a medical team so that you can get doctor’s blessing/discursive views.
- Check the reasons of the change of color – you may do this online. There are pages of facts about stools and their color.
Method 4 of 4 – toddlers, infants, newborns
- Dark green color – it is called meconium and is stool passed by newborns. This is a normal color. If the baby is breast-fed, then the color of the stool will be yellow-green and green-brownish, while formula-fed babies have yellowish, light-tan, or brownish stool colors.
- Black, very dark, bloody stool –if the baby has such stool after the first few days from being born you will have to consult a doctor as this is not normal.
- You won’t have to worry if there are small amounts of mucus globs and streaks in your stool. Normal ones usually contain that jelly-like material which is made in the intestines in order to moisten and lubricate the lining of the colon. If you note increased amounts of mucus which might be pus in stool from infection occurring regularly or even appropriated by bleeding or unexplained changes of bowel frequency, you need to consult a doctor.
- Too many black stools may indicate colon cancer or inside bleeding.
- You need to seek immediate medical care with any color of diarrhea and the following types of severe symptoms:
- High fever (higher than 101oF/38.3oC)
- Severe abdominal pain, stool with blood or pus;
- Significant vomiting;
- Seizures, changes in mental status, or sudden behavior changes;
- Symptoms of severe dehydration like decreased urination, unusual increased thirst, fatigue and light-headedness.